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Morris dancers fifth, Minooka 10th at state

BLOOMINGTON – The only wet blanket at the finals of an IHSA state event Saturday at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington was snow covering the ground outside.

The Morris and Minooka competitive dance teams made it out of the preliminaries Friday and were guaranteed no less than a top-10 finish in their respective classes.

Being in the top 10 is certainly nothing to sneeze at.

“I am thrilled with being one of the top 10 teams in Illinois and I am so proud of this team,” Minooka coach Cathy Gliwa said. “We had a great season and met our goals and had a great time doing it.”

The Arrowettes and Morris both made the finals Saturday, with the Redskins finishing fifth overall in Class 1A with a score of 84.58, and Minooka finished 10th in Class 3A with a score of 83.56.

“I’m very happy with the way the girls performed both Friday and Saturday,” Morris coach Becky Struck said. “The few weeks leading up to our sectional and state competition, the girls were so determined and motivated, and that showed in both performances.”

On Friday, both Morris finished tied for third in the preliminaries with a team score of 86.58 and Minooka scored a 85.24 later that day.

“This weekend the team was thrilled to even make it to the IHSA state finals and were so looking forward to cherishing the experience,” Minooka captain Kennedy Kunz said. “It was a good last hoorah; that we marked the first part of IHSA dance history at Minooka with winning sectionals, making it to state, and being the top 10 in the state.”

And making Minooka history.

“State was an awesome experience to be apart of because there were only the top 30 3A teams there from the state,” Minooka captain Haley McCabe said. “We ended up as 10th, but even that place was an honor to have because we made Minooka history by being the first team to make it to the finals at IHSA state. I couldn’t be more happy or proud of my team. I hope we made Minooka proud, too.”

Lake Park won Class 3A with a score of 95.04 and Highland won Class 1A with a count of 93.40. Class 2A was won by Geneva (92.38). 

While it was the first time for the Minooka girls, the Morris girls were in the inaugural IHSA event last year – finishing in seventh place in Class 2A with an 81.06 score, experience that Struck is hoping carries on in the program.

“The judges didn’t really give us many comments and the commentator during the performance really only said positive things,” Struck said of this year’s experience. “It’s hard to take away any corrections when we really weren’t given any, but I think the girls will use that as fuel for next year. Since our team is made up of eight freshmen, there were several girls who have never experience pom competition, let alone the IHSA.”

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